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  #1  
Old 17 Feb 2010
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Crossing from Canada to the USA (just passing through)

The thread about refused entry to the USA is pretty scary. And we will be doing similar in September.

Our plan is to fly (us and bikes) to Toronto on 1 way tickets, cross into the USA somewhere on the East coast and spend 4-5 weeks working our way down to Mexico via the southern states, then of through Central/Southern America.

As a B2 visa holder (wife as well) we were not anticipating to much hassle at the boarder.

However the thread does make me wonder, will they be curious that we do not have a return ticket ?

Will Canadian customs give us a hard time for not having a return ticket ?

What experiences do others have over this route (UK -> Canada -> USA -> and on) recently with 1 way tickets ?
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  #2  
Old 17 Feb 2010
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Smile

I think they had a problem with a serious shortage of funds to move on.

It's all about perception - if you look like you have a reasonable amount of money, you're not nervous, and you have a clear plan that you can answer with when they ask, then you should be fine.

All most border guards care about is that you're not a terrorist, you're not planning on staying illegally, you're not going to work, you're not planning to sell your bike, and you're planning to leave within their time constraints!

If you have a plan, and a website that shows it is very helpful and you have a few credit cards, and can show a bank statement with money, you're golden.
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  #3  
Old 17 Feb 2010
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And if they ask you, tell them you are on vacation, holiday.
You did NOT sell your house and all your stuff, your mum is watching it for you.
You are not working your way around the world.
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Old 17 Feb 2010
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Originally Posted by John Ferris View Post
And if they ask you, tell them you are on vacation, holiday.
You did NOT sell your house and all your stuff, your mum is watching it for you.
You are not working your way around the world.
Close, daughter is looking after the house, we will only sell if we don't come home and I don't want to work :-)
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Old 17 Feb 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Grant Johnson View Post
I think they had a problem with a serious shortage of funds to move on.
I was made redundant last September, no issue on that front :-)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Grant Johnson View Post
It's all about perception - if you look like you have a reasonable amount of money, you're not nervous, and you have a clear plan that you can answer with when they ask, then you should be fine.

All most border guards care about is that you're not a terrorist, you're not planning on staying illegally, you're not going to work, you're not planning to sell your bike, and you're planning to leave within their time constraints!
Sure, but we are talking about Canadian and American boarder guards here :-)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Grant Johnson View Post
If you have a plan, and a website that shows it is very helpful and you have a few credit cards, and can show a bank statement with money, you're golden.
Will they want more trip detail than quikmaps.com :: show ? :-)
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  #6  
Old 18 Feb 2010
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Ok some little things I have gotten from life and dealing with border people and cops and well most any one in authority. NEVER tell them anything more than that Answers the Question.

Where are you going? Yellowstone. (Or any other tourist area that is not part of big city.)
How long are you staying? 2 weeks (even if you have more time. give your time so it is enof to get there and back to that border)
Is this business? no. (trick here I read it a B2 is tourist only)
Do you have $2000? Hahaha ho yes (think that is min now)
How much booz do you have? None (you can have one just better if you do not and do not take Cuba rum if you do)
Do you have any cigerets or cigars? no (Cuba cigars are a no no in the USA)

Short fast answers, look at them as cop, I need to deal with you and be nice but you are not my pal and in my way. Contempt but with a smile.

This ends most CAN/USA border problems BUT I have had my bike looked at and my stuff looked at unpacked all my stuff and dogs sniff it. If you get this back way from the bike and let them go at it funny to see them try to pull out stuff, most give up. I pack my gear tight.

Any thing else makes them ask more and more questions not something you or they want.

Do not ask about guns, bombs, crime, Cuba, Did they know how stupid they are, selling your bike, why there kids are waste of skin, how fast you can get Mexico from here, why USA TV sucks. I never ask anything and try not to get in way. Most times it is like reading from a paper and there is no caring I get from them. They know what to ask and what most people say. Do not say anything there not ready for. Need help or info of the area ask some one at a gas stop or a campground.

Have a road map marked out where you told them you are going. If you need to prove you have the money (by law you do) Bank statement is what there looking for, best if it is real, cash works grate as well.

Do not tell them.
Our plan is to cross into the USA somewhere on the East coast and spend 4-5 weeks working our way down to Mexico via the southern states, then of through Central/Southern America.

Bad idea WAY to much info.
The Question will then go like this:
4 or 5 weeks is a long time what are you doing in all that time?
How did you get off that much time from work?
You have no job and no way of supporting your self?
Why do you need to get Central America where the USA can not get at you?
Are you running from the authoritys in your home?
Or are you running from authoritys in the USA?
What terrorist organization are you working for?
And it will gust go down hill from there.

Ok that last one may be a bit far but not much. Gust stick with short fast answers a child will get. Works well at all borders I fined.

Once past that imaginary line you can agen talk like a real person to cops and even the military. Just borders have funny laws no one uses but them. I do the same when I go to Canada But there more on about guns knives and some thing called bear spray oh and the money thing. Mexico gust dose not want you to have guns or sell your bike. Get the paper work for the bike before you go too far in to Mexico.
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Old 20 Feb 2010
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Note to self....


Must remember that "working" your way somewhere means different things to different people.

In this context I mean it as "travelling", so must remember to say "travelling down south, visiting relatives and friends as we go.

Note, have bought one-way tickets, airline warned us straight away we may get hassle at immigration.
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  #8  
Old 21 Feb 2010
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I have crossed into the States maqny times over the 30 years I have lived in Mexico. All of the above info is true especially don't say anything unless asked. You shouldn't have a problem. Bear in mind you will be unusual as very few Brit motorcyclist come across the border from Canada. You won't have any problems if you stay cool. The American Border crossing for me is more time consuming than for a Mexican (I'm a Brit) and it takes them some time to figure out what to do with me. I have never had a problem except when I tried to cross with a non machine readable passport.
I have had some great trips in the States on bikes and in cars and meet amazingly helpful people. Even border guards have (sometimes) been nice to me!!
When you make it to Mexico we wll be happy to put you up and show you around Mexico City. I have lived here for over 30 years and it is a fantastic city. Make sure when you cross the border into Mexico you have bought everything you need for a while as a lot of things are more complicated, expensive or impossible to get here.

Garry
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  #9  
Old 21 Feb 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by garrydymond View Post
I have crossed into the States maqny times over the 30 years I have lived in Mexico. All of the above info is true especially don't say anything unless asked. You shouldn't have a problem. Bear in mind you will be unusual as very few Brit motorcyclist come across the border from Canada. You won't have any problems if you stay cool. The American Border crossing for me is more time consuming than for a Mexican (I'm a Brit) and it takes them some time to figure out what to do with me. I have never had a problem except when I tried to cross with a non machine readable passport.
I have had some great trips in the States on bikes and in cars and meet amazingly helpful people. Even border guards have (sometimes) been nice to me!!
When you make it to Mexico we wll be happy to put you up and show you around Mexico City. I have lived here for over 30 years and it is a fantastic city. Make sure when you cross the border into Mexico you have bought everything you need for a while as a lot of things are more complicated, expensive or impossible to get here.

Garry
GarryHostel.com
Thanks Garry, bookmarked, looks like we will be heading towards Mexico City then :-)
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  #10  
Old 22 Feb 2010
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My name is Mustafa Bomba from the Islamic Republic of Iran and I am entering US to study at a private madrasa in Arkansas. To finance my studies in your fine country I have with me 50 kg of the finest Cuban cigars which I plan to sell on the black market until I can find employment or a rich American woman to marry who will support me. I have put my criminal past behind me and it is none of your business. Kindly step aside so that I can be on my way.
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  #11  
Old 29 Apr 2010
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Hey Ya BruceP

I live in a Border city called Windsor, in Ontario. Its the most travelled border crossing for the can/usa crossing but very fast. You would have to take the bridge as the tunnel is not for bike, however you probably wouldnt have any issues with border crossings, although the USA customs will sometimes give you a problem with entering without a return ticket. Get your story solid in your mind, so that you guys are exact same story and make sure to get insurance. If you need a place to crash I can set you up while you prep to cross. It puts you into Detroit Michigan and right on to the I-75 that heads south towards Florida but you can also cut alot of time off by using the cross route that leads more direct to Cali. Id say hit New Orleans if you can its a great place any time of year.
if you need a place hit me up!
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  #12  
Old 29 Apr 2010
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"...so must remember to say "travelling down south, visiting relatives and friends as we go."

Putting it this way in direct response to dlbiten's post makes it sound like you might be missing his point. You need to say "We're going to Charlotte to visit my wife's sister." Period. End of story. No references to vague "friends or...." and no curiosity about Disney World or riding the Dragon. If asked (but only if asked), you're then going to Mexico City D.F. to visit with your old friend Garrydymond. That's all they need, and it's really all they want to hear, as a general rule. More than that and you'll trip yourself up.

Hope that helps---you or others.

Mark

(homeward bound, just four months and 13 border crossings away)
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  #13  
Old 29 Apr 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by markharf View Post
"...so must remember to say "travelling down south, visiting relatives and friends as we go."

Putting it this way in direct response to dlbiten's post makes it sound like you might be missing his point. You need to say "We're going to Charlotte to visit my wife's sister." Period. End of story. No references to vague "friends or...." and no curiosity about Disney World or riding the Dragon. If asked (but only if asked), you're then going to Mexico City D.F. to visit with your old friend Garrydymond. That's all they need, and it's really all they want to hear, as a general rule. More than that and you'll trip yourself up.

Hope that helps---you or others.

Mark

(homeward bound, just four months and 13 border crossings away)
I agree with Mark on being specific not vague, but to only answer questions that are asked, and to offer nothing more then what is asked. Dont go into a long explanation, just answer it directly and do look them straight in the eyes when you talk, dont be asking your buddy or looking to them for advice or whatnot. I would infact get a few riders details before you go, such as addresses and phone numbers andask if you can say that you will be visiting them. This is incase you are taken into secondary and they rerquest more information, It will look bad when you just told them you were gonna vists so-and-so but when queried more, you dont have an adress or phone. So Id get 3-4 address along your planned route just as precaution.

It sounds all difficult and scary but it isnt, just plan ahead like anything else and you should be fine.
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  #14  
Old 30 Apr 2010
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You'll be fine if you bring your ID. You can always say that you are visiting June in Colorado and you're going to ride "Peak to Peak" with the Colorado Sport Bike club.
On the off chance you actually want to do that just drop me a line and we'll put you up here in Morrison CO 80465 (just outside of Denver).
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  #15  
Old 2 May 2010
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This site is for travellers, not tourists. Travellers, being pretty close to nomads are not wanted by bureaucrats or officials anywhere on the planet. Tourists, on the other hand, are sought after because they bring money, spend it, and then leave. So, you need to portray the illusion of being a tourist, with an itinerary down to the hour. You know, if this is tuesday, this must be New York sort of thing. Once across the border, you can drop the illusion, unless of course, you come across another bureaucrat or official. You are not required to have a "guide" keeping tabs on you... yet.
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